“Mockingbirds” by Alison Luterman

Alison Luterman


My friend says she wants to shoot
the mockingbirds who infest the big tree
outside her window and sing all night.
The violence of their squawks is not the same
as the violence of our thoughts
about them at 2 a.m. or the gunshots
and illegal fireworks punctuating this warm evening
as we sit in front of our television watching two old men,
one blustering, one faltering
at the lip of the abyss, and an invisible pool
of despair spreads like blood out from the screens
and into our living rooms and pools around our feet
and we lift our feet up but go on watching
as it engulfs us on our sofas, forks poised
halfway to our mouths, frozen there, watching.
And just as the violence of the what the actual fuck
we’ve had some of the smartest women on the planet
in contention for this job, but no, it’s gotta be
two men who cannot seem to form
one coherent sentence between them
spraying from my mouth like machine gun fire
is not the same as the killer in the supermarket
spewing real bullets that ricochet off carts,
or the maniac at the music festival with his bump stock,
or the white supremacist at the Black church,
or the anti-Semite at the synagogue, still, I confess,
there is murder in my heart, there is so much rage
boiling inside my own body, inside the body
of everyone I know—we are all simmering this summer
with a thin metallic taste in our mouths
as if we’d been given old-fashioned shock treatments
which we have, and are now sitting inside
the absolute blankness of the aftermath
with our unanswerable questions
who are we and how did we get here,
and what the hell happens now?

from Poets Respond


Alison Luterman: “I find myself unable to watch either of the two candidates currently vying for the office of the President of the United States of America. I will vote for the Democrat, of course. But I am still not over my disappointment that Elizabeth Warren was bumped out of the 2020 race, or the other qualified women who could be leading our country brilliantly right now were it not for patriarchy.” (web)

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